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Does Vitamin D Deficiency Cause Depression

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Does Low Iron Cause Anxiety And Depression

Vitamin D Deficiency and Depression

Mental Health Consequences Anemia, or iron deficiency, can cause a variety of psychological symptoms, including anxiety, anger, sadness, and a decline in cognitive functions . /span>

Iron is needed for the production of red blood cells. Without enough red blood cells, oxygen delivery to body tissues is impaired, causing stress on other parts of the immune system. This, in turn, can lead to anxiety over possible illness or injury, as well as depression.

People who are anemic may have darker skin because less-effective red blood cells require more of the protein component called hemoglobin to transport oxygen. Darker skin also indicates that you are losing blood, so it is important not to cut yourself or otherwise injure your skin during exercise or other activities where bleeding is likely to be harmful.

Symptoms of iron deficiency include headache, irritability, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, muscle cramping, and sore muscles. Depression and anxiety are two of the most common complications of iron deficiency. About 20 percent of people with iron deficiency suffer from severe anxiety another 10 percent experience mild anxiety. Other studies have shown an association between low iron levels and panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

If you are experiencing feelings of anxiety or depression, contact your doctor to determine the cause.

Does Vitamin D Deficiency Cause Depression

Does Vitamin D Deficiency Cause Depression?

To the Editor: Depression is the most prevalent mood disorder, affecting over 300 million people worldwide, and is a globally significant public health concern.1 More than 1 in 20 Americans suffer from depression.2 It is estimated that by 2020 depression will be the second most common cause of disability after ischemic heart disease.3 Without an established etiology, a combination of factors may contribute to the development of depression including, but not limited to, genetics, stress, substance abuse, low socioeconomic status, isolation, grief, limited social support, and certain disabilities. Hypovitaminosis can result in many different conditions, some of which have an emotional impact.4 Vitamin D deficiency is associated with depression in some people.5

Vitamin D and Depression. There is no specific mechanism to explain how vitamin D deficiency might yield affective illness. Vitamin D receptors in the brain at the prefrontal cortex, hypothalamus, and substantia nigra play a role in regulating emotions.6 Vitamin D regulates serotonin levels, and vitamin D deficiency leads to diminishing serotonin concentrations.7 Low serotonin levels could be an etiology for inducing clinical depression.8


Depressed Some Relief May Be As Close As Your Nearest Vitamin D Supplement

Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” is a steroid hormone precursor. It was originally thought to play a role only in the mineralization of bones and teeth by maintaining the correct phosphorous/calcium ratio. But over time research has linked low vitamin D levels with obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disease, osteoporosis, and cancer.

According to the CDC, in 2006 a whopping one-fourth of the population was deficient in vitamin D. Eight percent were “at risk” for vitamin D deficiency illnesses and one percent had levels that were considered imminently harmful. According to Natural News, vitamin D is “perhaps the single most underrated nutrient in the world of nutrition.”

Whats causing these low vitamin D levels? One theory is that we are not outside as much as prior generations, and when we are, we slather on the sunscreen that prohibits UVB from penetrating the skin. These same UVB rays naturally produce vitamin D.

The time of day, the season, the altitude, the latitude, and other factors come into play to determine how much UVB reaches the skin. Vitamin D levels can become depleted without enough sunshine, and this is especially true during the winter months when we stay inside more and the sun is not as intense.

Here are a few important things to note:

If you have dark skin, you’ll need about 25 times more exposure time as a light-skinned individual to produce the same amount of vitamin D.

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Tips For Choosing A Vitamin D Supplement To Potentially Boost Mood

Recommendations vary, but Greenblatt says you can safely take 1,000 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day. Guidelines from the NIH also suggest that to raise vitamin levels, at least 1,500 to 2,000 IU per day of supplemental vitamin D may be required in adults.

Selecting a safe and effective vitamin D supplement is complicated. Most vitamins are not approved by the , so its hard to give guidance, says Penckofer. Vitamin D supplements are not under the same scrutiny as traditional medications, as far as FDA regulation goes. Still, she says if your doctor has you taking a high dose, he or she will likely tell you what brand they use or recommend in their practice, adds Penckofer.

Pro tip: Youll want to ask your doctor for brand suggestions, too, even if you are taking a lower dose. A physician also may have a preferred vendor, she says, based on feedback from patients or research theyve done on their own.

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Does Low Iron Make You Tired

Vitamin D Or D3 For Depression

The symptoms might become more obvious when low iron advances to iron deficiency and anemia. These symptoms might include excessive fatigue and weakness. Breathing difficulty, dizziness, and headache also may occur due to low iron levels. Anemia can lead to irritability, mood changes, and poor concentration skills. Low iron levels can also increase your risk of infection.

The best way to check your iron level is with a blood test. Your doctor will know how to conduct this test. You may be asked to come in for multiple tests over time as your doctor monitors your progress.

If you have severe fatigue and feel like you need something else to help you sleep, talk with your doctor about adding melatonin or zinc supplements to your treatment plan.

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How Can You Get Enough Vitamin D In The Winter

During winter, many people spend more time indoors, and it gets dark earlier in the day.

Additionally, people are more bundled up when theyre outside, so less skin is exposed to the sunlight. This can lead to inadequate vitamin D levels through the winter for some people.

This may also be one factor that plays into seasonal affective disorder , a type of depression that typically occurs only during the winter months .

However, there are several ways to get more vitamin D during the winter:

  • Supplements. Taking a vitamin D supplement throughout the winter can help maintain your blood vitamin D levels even if you get less sun exposure.
  • Vitamin D foods. You can also choose more vitamin D-rich foods during the winter, such as vitamin-D fortified dairy or plant-based milk, fish like trout or salmon, or UV-exposed mushrooms (
  • ).


The safe daily upper limit of vitamin D is 4,000 IU. Vitamin D may help with mood, and other supplements may also help with depression. Aside from taking supplements, there are several actions you can take to increase your vitamin D levels in winter.

Is There A Link Between Vitamin D Deficiency And Depression

Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Described as the sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D has steadily drawn public interest as a potential treatment for depression.

Could this inexpensive supplement counteract the effects of this widespread and, often, debilitating disorder?

While some research indicates that people with depression have lower levels of vitamin D than their counterparts without depression, so far, no large-scale study has found that the vitamin cures the condition.

The causes and symptoms of depression are multifaceted, which means that often no one drug, vitamin, or identified treatment can make them disappear entirely.

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Those Over The Age Of 50

If you are over 50, you lose some of your natural ability to produce vitamin D from sun exposure making you one of the most at risk groups. Your kidneys also become less efficient at converting the vitamin, making it important to stay active and spend plenty of time outside in your 50s, 60s, and beyond. Read more about the importance of vitamin D when youre older here.

Vitamin D Deficiency Linked To Depression

Vitamin D Deficiency Signs & Symptoms (ex. Fatigue), Diagnosis, Treatment

Supplements May Help Depression in People With Vitamin D Deficiency

June 27, 2012 — Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a host of illnesses and conditions, from heart disease and diabetes to certain types of cancer.

Now a small study of three women suggests that vitamin D deficiency and depression may travel together, and that filling up the “vitamin D tank” may help relieve some of the symptoms.

Whether low levels of vitamin Dcause depression, worsen it, or are a symptom of the underlying depression is not fully understood. “There is no solid proof that vitamin D deficiency causes depression,” says researcher Sonal Pathak, MD. She is an endocrinologist at Bay Health Endocrinology in Dover, Del. “Large studies are clearly needed.”

Her findings were presented at The Endocrine Society’s 94th Annual Meeting in Houston.

Pathak’s study included three women aged 42 to 66 with depression, all of whom were taking antidepressants. The women were also being treated for type 2 diabetes or an underactive thyroid gland.

All three were deficient in vitamin D, with levels that ranged from 8.9 to 14.5 nanograms per milliliter of blood . Levels below 21 ng/mL are considered vitamin D deficient. Normal vitamin D levels are above 30 ng/mL, according to guidelines set by The Endocrine Society.

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The Link Between A Vitamin D Deficiency And Anxiety

Multiple studies illuminate the relationship between vitamin D deficiency and anxiety. The Journal of Diabetes research conducted a study to see if supplements could improve mental health and type 2 diabetes. Forty-six women participated in the study for six months and completed a survey about their mental health. The study found that taking vitamin D supplements significantly decreased anxiety levels in women suffering from type 2 diabetes.

Another study found that those suffering from anxiety had lower levels of calcidiol. Broken down vitamin D produces the byproduct, calcidiol. The study notes that low levels of vitamin D are thought to increase the chances of depression, diabetes, and cancer. The study also notes that literature from thousands of years ago hints at the link between vitamin D deficiency and anxiety. An ancient text writes about poor mental health after lack of sun exposure.

Vitamin D And Depression

Depression is a medical condition that changes the thoughts, feelings, or behaviors of an individual. Symptoms include:

  • Loss of interest in activities the individual previously liked
  • Isolation and withdrawal

What Research Shows

Studies on vitamin D supplementation and depression show a relationship between the two.

The only limitation of the studies is that they donât prove that vitamin D deficiency causes depression. People with depression may have lower vitamin D levels, but the deficiency did not cause the illness.

How Vitamin D Deficiency is Linked to Depression

If the cause of depression was a lack of the vitamin, then supplementation would help reduce the signs and symptoms. An increase in the levels of the vitamin would also prevent depression from occurring, but this is not the case.

There is another possible explanation of the correlation between vitamin D deficiency and depression. Many groups at a high risk of depression are also likely to have vitamin D deficiency.

Adolescents, people with obesity, the elderly, and those with chronic illnesses are the most prone to having vitamin D deficiency. They are also at a higher risk of depression.

Possible Causes for This Correlation

As noted above, some symptoms of clinical depression include withdrawal and social isolation. Since these individuals spend less time outside, they lack the much-needed exposure to process enough vitamin D.

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Does Low Iron Affect Exercise

Athletes suffering from iron deficiency, particularly anemia, may have the following symptoms: weakness, overall fatigue/exhaustion, impaired exercise performance, elevated heart rate and shortness of breath during activity, headaches, and dizziness. These athletes need to be treated with iron supplements immediately.

Exercise can deplete your body’s stores of iron, so you must include foods that are rich in iron in your diet if you plan to participate in activities that require lots of energy. Fruits and vegetables contain high-quality iron also consider adding meat, beans, or peas to your diet. If you do not get enough iron, it can cause you to be more likely to feel tired during exercise. Eating foods that are high in vitamin C with your meal may help remove some of the effects of iron when you exercise.

Iron is needed for healthy blood cells and for many other functions within the body. Women of child-bearing age should obtain their daily requirement of iron by eating about 8 ounces of meat, fish, or poultry, 4 ounces of milk products, and 6 cups of green and yellow vegetables. Men should get at least 18 mg of iron per day by eating 7 ounces of meat, fish, or poultry, 5 ounces of milk products, and 9 cups of green and yellow vegetables.

What Foods Have Vitamin D

Low levels of vitamin B12 could push you into depression, cause fatigue ...

Even if Vitamin D wonât fix your depression on its own, itâs still important to incorporate more Vitamin D into your diet if you have a deficiency.

Vitamin D is found in few foods naturally, and in relatively small amounts. The best sources include:

  • Mushrooms
  • Egg yolks
  • Salmon and other fatty fish

Some foods are also fortified with vitamin D, meaning that more is added in. These commonly include:

  • Milk
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Orange juice

Moreover, if youâre interested in taking a vitamin D supplement, your doctor can check your vitamin D levels and determine the proper dose you may need.

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Vitamin D And Anxiety

It seems that more scientists agree about the link between vitamin D deficiency and anxiety than depression. Though, some members of the scientific community are skeptical about how much it helps with anxiety. Regardless, multiple studies find that a vitamin D deficiency may increase anxiety.

One study gave participants with vitamin D deficiencies supplements for six months. They used a test called the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale14 to rate participants level of anxiety. One group didnt receive any vitamin D supplements. Ultimately, vitamin D supplements significantly helped lessen symptoms of anxiety in the group as opposed to the group that didnt take any. Further studies the link between a vitamin d deficiency and anxiety.

Can A Vitamin D Deficiency Cause Depression

By Andrew Weil, M.D.

Can there really be a link between vitamin D deficiency and depression? Dr. Weil takes a look at this interesting theory.

There may be a connection between vitamin D and depression. Unfortunately, very little scientific research has been done in this area. However, the latest study, from Oregon State University, did find a correlation in young, otherwise healthy, women. Researchers recruited 185 female college students ages 18 to 25 to take part in the study at different times during the school year. Vitamin D levels were measured with blood tests, and all of the participants completed a depression symptom survey weekly for five weeks.

The researchers reported that many of the young women had vitamin D levels that were below what is considered sufficient for good health. All told, 61 percent of the women of color participating had low levels of D, compared to 35 percent of the white women in the study. All the womens vitamin D levels varied with the time of the year and, as expected, were lowest in winter, rose in the spring and declined in the fall. More than a third of the participants reported clinically significant symptoms of depression each week for the duration of the study.

In a press release accompanying publication of the study, lead researcher David Kerr Ph.D. noted that depression has multiple, powerful causes and if vitamin D is part of the picture, it is just a small part.

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How Long Does It Take To Restore Vitamin D Levels

Adding an over-the-counter vitamin D supplement can make improvements in just three to four months‘ time. Vitamin D with a strength of 1000-2000 international units daily is the recommended dose for most adults, Dr. Ropte says. Most multivitamins contain vitamin D, so extra supplementation isn’t always necessary.

Can Vitamin D Cure Depression

Vitamin D deficiency and depression | What you NEED to know (symptoms, testing and dose)

Of course, the million-dollar question is, can vitamin D actually cure depression all together? In a study where researchers examined the usefulness of vitamin D as an antidepressant, no significant reduction in depression was found in trials where a vitamin D supplement was used to treat depression . However, in this study, participants did not suffer from a vitamin D deficiency prior to trials. This leaves room for further investigation on individuals who were experiencing both depression and vitamin D deficiency at the same time.

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Treating Vitamin D Deficiency

The best way to treat vitamin D deficiency is to:

  • Increase your exposure to the sun
  • Increase your intake of food fortified with vitamin D
  • Take supplements

Your doctor may also give you antidepressants to treat depression. You can take them separately or with dietary supplements. Join a support group, exercise regularly and practice proper sleeping habits.

Preventing Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D is as vital for mental health as it’s essential for physical health. There is sufficient research to show that not having enough of the vitamin can lead to depression-like symptoms. People with depression have higher chances of having vitamin D deficiency. Prevent this from happening by adding food rich in Vitamin D to your diet and getting adequate sun exposure.

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